the kobe trade and moronic sports fans
If you have any interest in either Chicago sports or the NBA, you know that there is rumored intense trade talks between the Bulls and Lakers involving Kobe Bryant.Personally, my feeling is that as long as a relatively strong nucleus is left in place, I’m all for dealing for Kobe. What do I mean by a relatively strong nucleus? Two of the following players have to remain Bulls: Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah, Tyrus Thomas. It seems that Deng is the sticking point in the deal; the Lakers reportedly won’t make a deal without him, and the Bulls really don’t want to give him up. On top of that, Kobe has a no-trade clause, so if the Bulls were to offer up the farm for him, Kobe would nix the deal because his whole reason for demanding a trade is to be dealt to a winner, not another rebuilding project.But what gets me is the reaction from Bulls fans towards this possible deal. Talk among the majority of the fans is that they either don’t want Kobe or are not willing to deal guys like Deng, Thomas, or Gordon for him. Listen to sports radio. You’ll listen to callers to WSCR 670 am’s afternoon show with Terry Boers and Dan Bernstein, and you’ll hear callers who don’t want to trade Deng because he’s a blooming superstar. One guy said he didn’t want Kobe because he’s never shot 50 percent from the field. Another guy said the Bulls can’t deal Thomas because he’s going to be James Worthy, only better. A third caller said he didn’t want Kobe in his city because he ‘has a wife and daughter’ and he felt Kobe would threaten their safety. Seriously.Folks, let me break something down for you. This isn’t baseball or football; those are team games, where it doesn’t matter if you have the best player. A NFL team with LaDanian Tomlinson could start the season 4-3. A MLB team with A-Rod could win 70 games and finish last (see his stint in Texas). The NBA is different. As much as us fans love the ‘team concept’ and the idea of 12 guys, all working together and each functioning perfectly in their own role, if you have the chance to acquire one of the best players of all time in his prime, then you do it. With Kobe, the Bulls have things they haven’t had since their last championship team:
- A finisher who can get easy buckets
- A player who can get his own shot
- An All-NBA Defensive first team member
Not only that, but imagine Kobe and Gordon on the same team. Kobe driving to the lane, drawing defenders and kicking out to a wide open Gordon. Gordon puts up 20 points a game now with guys all over him. Imagine what kind of damage he could do when either open or single-covered all the time. If the Bulls have to trade Ben? Then put Hinrich in that same situation. He’s not as deadly a shooter as Gordon, but he’s solid. A team with Kobe, Hinrich and/or Gordon, and Deng as its nucleus has the chance to do some special things, not just this year, but in the years to come.But you might be saying, ‘The current Bulls team is fine as is?’ I disagree. Will this team play hard and always compete? Absolutely. They might even get hot and advance to the NBA Finals. But the goal is to win championships, and I really don’t think the team, as currently constructed, can do that. Deng has room to grow as a player, but I don’t think he’ll ever be a top ten NBA star. Gordon, while a great weapon, has huge ballhandling and defensive holes in his game. Hinrich might improve some, but this is his fifth year; we may have seen most of Captain Kirk’s growth as a player already. Who knows what will become of Thomas, Noah, Thabo Sefolosha and the rest of the team.So Bulls fans, don’t fear Kobe. Cheering for Kobe and hoping for the Bulls to acquire him doesn’t mean they are a sinch to win the title, but it also doesn’t mean you have to lock up your women. It doesn’t mean that you’re being unfaithful to Michael. It means you want championships. It means you’re a good fan.